Former state senator Alex Mooney is the new head (and face) of the Maryland GOP. Last Friday on TBD NewsTalk, Mooney decided to take on conservatism's current bete noire -- health care reform -- and its longest-standing enemy -- government regulation -- in one fell swoop.
Host Bruce DePuyt asked Mooney if it was fair to call the health care overhaul a government takeover. (PolitiFact, for one, has said it’s not.)
Mooney said it was, and argued that government should instead increase choice and decrease regulation. “One of the problems in Maryland, we have so many government mandates on health care, which is government pushing it toward a certain way, where you have to cover in vitro fertilization, hair loss, all sort of things that are not considered basic health care needs. So the government causes the problem, in a sense, by all these mandates.”
Opponents of government involvement in health care often seize on what they perceive as questionable insurance coverage areas to make their case. But are health insurance companies really required to help you get pregnant or regrow your hair?
Maryland is one of fourteen states that requires coverage in vitro fertilization, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, although there are a bevy of limitations. For example, there must be a two-year history of infertility and there’s a maximum $100,000 lifetime benefit. This is covered by Maryland Code, specifically § 15-810.
The coverage of hair loss isn’t as clear-cut. Maryland Code, specifically § 15-836, does require coverage of “hair prosthesis,” or a wig. But it only applies for patients whose hair loss “results from chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer.” And the prosthesis (which cannot cost more than $350) must be prescribed by an oncologist. That's not for your average hair loss. It's certainly not picking up the tab for a vain 40-year-old going through a midlife crisis at the Hair Club For Men.
Of Mooney's two claims, one is legitimate, but the other is significantly distorted. That's a 50/50.